Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The "40% of Breadwinners are Women" Statistic is Misleading

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for the Huffington Post:

Margaret Ryznar

The Pew Research Center recently announced that mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households. Forty percent, in many minds, invokes the image of an almost equal participation of moms and dads in the workforce and at home. Commentators and media outlets have seized the opportunity to discuss the father's domestic role and the disproportionate impact of the recession on men. Many have viewed this as the advancement of women in the workforce.

However, a closer look at the numbers, in conjunction with birth data, suggests otherwise. Notably, while mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households, the same percentage of births are to unmarried mothers. Although the two populations do not perfectly overlap -- not every female breadwinner is a single mother -- they do to a surprisingly significant extent. Specifically, 8.6 million (63 percent) of women breadwinners in the United States are single mothers. A further analysis of the numbers reveals the startling fact that 25 percent of all breadwinners in the United States are single mothers earning a median income of $23,000 per year.

Read more here.


July 27, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cost of Divorce on Retirement

From Family Law Week:

Divorced retirees expect a £13,800 annual retirement income, compared with £16,400 for those who have not.

Divorce reduces average expected retirement income by around £2,600 a year (16 per cent), according to a survey conducted by Prudential. People who are planning to retire in 2013 and have been divorced expect to retire with an annual income of £13,800 compared with £16,400 for those who have not divorced.

Read more here.


July 26, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Marriage Rates in England & Wales

From Family Law Week:

The latest statistics on the marriage rate – provisional figures released by the Office for National Statistics for 2011 – show that in that year the number of marriages in England and Wales increased by 1.7% to 247,890, from 243,808 in 2010.

Read more here.


July 25, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Forced Fatherhood

An editorial from the New York Times:

Women’s rights advocates have long struggled for motherhood to be a voluntary condition, and not one imposed by nature or culture. In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality. In many states, infant safe haven laws allow a birth mother to walk away from her newborn baby if she leaves it unharmed at a designated facility.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States. He can urge her to seek an abortion, but ultimately that decision is hers to make. Should she decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, and should she or our government attempt to establish him as the legal father, he can be stuck with years of child support payments.

Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women?  Should men have more control over when and how they become parents, as many women now do?


The legal scholar Jane Murphy has argued that a new definition of fatherhood is emerging in our laws and court decisions which privileges a man’s biological tie to a child over other criteria. In a 2005 article in the Notre Dame Law Review, Murphy wrote about paternity “disestablishment” cases in which men who have assumed the father role in a child’s life seek genetic testing to avoid the obligations of legal fatherhood, typically when they break up with the child’s mother. Her research shows that replacing the limited “mother’s husband” conception of fatherhood with a narrow biologically based one still leaves many children legally fatherless.

Read more here.


July 24, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Privacy in Family Law Cases in England

From the Times:

The cloak of secrecy is to be lifted from family courts in a landmark decision giving greater rights to tens of thousands of parents and their children every year.

Judgments determining custody battles, care orders and whether children should be rehomed will in future be published unless there are “compelling reasons” not to.

Read more here.


July 23, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Annulment & Wills Fraud

From the Courthouse News Service:

    A man who married in secret by checking his allegedly incapacitated bride out of a nursing home may not be entitled to her estate, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled.
     Nancy Ellen Laubenheimer died at Virginia Highlands Health and Rehabilitation Center in February 2009 while her stepdaughter, Patricia Mudlaff, was petitioning for permanent guardianship.
     Though Laubenheimer had never adopted Mudlaff or her two siblings, she had been married to their father for 30 years before his death in 2001. Laubenheimer's will in 1999 said the bulk of her estate should go to those three children if her husband predeceased her.
     Joseph McLeod moved in with Laubenheimer some time later. Laubenheimer's failing health included a series of strokes, diabetes, renal failure and hypertension. Six months before Laubenheimer was judged by doctors as incapacitated and admitted to a nursing home in October 2008, a nurse had told the sheriff's department that a man named "Clark McLeod" was not letting Laubenheimer get the care she required.
     Laubenheimer had been in the nursing home just two or three weeks when McLeod removed her twice to obtain a marriage license and then get married at the courthouse.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

July 22, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)